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Google might move, expand Pittsburgh office

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By Sam Spatter
Friday, July 27, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Google might be ready to expand its engineering office in Pittsburgh by nearly doubling its employment and moving to its own building, City Councilman Bill Peduto said on Thursday.

The technology giant employs more than 220 people at its Bakery Square office in Larimer and “has the green light from its corporate headquarters” to add up to 200 more, said Peduto, who represents the nearby neighborhoods of Bloomfield, Oakland, Shadyside, Squirrel Hill, East Liberty and Point Breeze.

Peduto, who has promoted the more than $2 billion invested in recent years to redevelop the city's East End, said Google might want its own building soon.

“The idea of a separate building is my thoughts, because it's only common sense that they would want to have all its operations in a building of its own,” he said.

The company, however, has found it difficult to recruit the type of engineers it needs from this area, Peduto said.

Google spokesman Jordan Newman, speaking at the Mountain View, Calif., headquarters, declined to talk about employment projections or the future of its Pittsburgh office.

Google operates more than 70 offices in more than 40 countries and notes on its website: “Interested in working in one of these locations? We're always looking for great people.”

The company built its Pittsburgh staff over seven years, starting with two people in 2005 at a location in the Collaborative Innovation Center at Carnegie Mellon University.

Peduto, a champion of “green initiatives” and probable Democratic candidate to challenge Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, made his comments to attendees of the Western Pennsylvania chapter of the National Association of Office and Industrial Properties, meeting at the Omni William Penn hotel, Downtown.

“With Walnut Capital — the developer of Bakery Square where Google is now located — planning to develop the former Reizenstein School site opposite its location along Penn Avenue ... that $135 million project will include office buildings along Penn, which could be where Google would consolidate its Pittsburgh operations,” he said.

Walnut Capital President Todd Reidbord declined to comment on Google's plans.

Its space at Bakery Square could accommodate new hires. Google initially leased about 50,000 square feet there and this year took a third floor, adding 30,000 square feet.

It modeled that floor after the Kennywood amusement park, adding a dimension to its unconventional office layout. Its other floors include second-story footbridges named for Pittsburgh's bridges and a conference room-sized hammock that dangles over the first floor.

Sam Spatter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7843 or

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